Generosity

The Super Simple [and actionable] 5 Step Guide to Rolling out your Church Mobile Giving Solution

Use this guide when rolling out a mobile giving solution to your church for the first time or going through a technology upgrade. The 5 Tips Outlined in this post will greatly improve sucess.

The Super Simple [and actionable] 5 Step Guide to Rolling out your Church Mobile Giving Solution
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In the rapidly changing landscape of church fundraising solutions it’s important to understand the psychology behind giving. Things like need, vision, and the heart behind generosity are important.

But you can’t stop there.

Equally important are the communication and execution aspects of rolling out new mobile & online giving solution for your church. Without good communication and a well executed plan, you'll end up with new technology that no one is using. And that equates to time and money lost that could have been spent on the mission.

The fact is that churches traditionally lag way behind the technology adoption curve.

Whether you're rolling out digital giving for the first time or going through a technology upgrade, the five steps outlined below will have you well on your way to a smooth and successful outcome.

Oh, and before we forget. If you happen to be getting started with Tithe.ly, be sure to read our getting started guide.

Step 1. Before you start the roll out process.

There are a few things you should do before you begin rolling out Tithe.ly to your church or ministry.

Add a custom “statement descriptor” to your account so people see your organization name on their card statements.

Add your logo and colors to the giving form and customize your email confirmation message so people stay connected with your brand.

Add the Tithe.ly website giving form to your website. Also, add a link to this page (http://get.tithe.ly/download-tithely-app/) so that you make it simple for people to download the giving app.

Give a small donation to review the full giving experience. This will allow you to see your customized giving form, email confirmation, and what shows up on your statements.

Download the launch resource kit and tailor it to meet your specific needs. Need help with something, drop us a line at hello@tithe.ly and we’ll help you get your launch material ready. You can grab the source files (.PDF), sample slides, and launch videos here.

Put some thought into member engagement using these — https://blog.tithe.ly/how-do-i-get-my-church-members-to-use-tithe-ly-8da2ec1e067e

Step 2. Train leadership and volunteers.

Your church probably has a leadership team, small group leaders, and a handful of very active volunteers that meet regularly.

These meetings are highly valuable to moving your ministry forward. I've seen them used for deeper teaching and ministry training, rallying the troops around the mission, reviewing church programs, checking in on community outreach activities, organizing church events, and much more.

But they're also perfect opportunities to educate the most active and engaged group of people in your congregation about the digital giving tools you're rolling out. Here’s a few ideas for you to chew on and/or use during your digital giving roll-out:

Take 30 minutes to demonstrate the new technology to this group. Be sure to go through the entire giving process end-to-end so that they can “see” the full experience.

Have them download the Tithe.ly mobile giving app, sign-up for an account and complete making a $5 gift.

Give them the ability to ask questions. Take notes on all the questions being asked so that you can create an FAQ document for larger church audience.

Ask this group to be your early adopters over the course of a month or so. Compile their feedback so that you can use it when you roll out the tools to the entire church.

Work with this group to formulate a solid roll-out plan.

Ask them to get one of their friends from within the church to sign-up and use the giving solution. Then have them share their experience with you.

It’s critically important that you teach, train and motivate this group to use the new giving technology themselves so that they can gain confidence and start to share with the groups of people they interact with in your church.

Enlisting and engaging these “early adopters” helps to put them in a position to champion the opportunity to other church members down the road so that you're not standing alone trying to “make it work” months after the initial roll out.

Note: This is the most important tip of all. Laser focus here and the rest will fall into place.

Step 3. Communicate early and often.

Now days it’s not uncommon for a church to have a simple way for members to give online.

What’s uncommon is the adoption rate of online or digital giving compared to cash and check giving.

The number one reason (in my opinion) for the lack of digital giving adoption is poor communication. I've talked to many churchgoers that didn't even know their church provided an option to give online.

The question is, have you taken the time to demonstrate the digital giving tools your church is provides? Have you shown your congrigation how to use them? Have you thought about taking 10 minutes on a Sunday morning to show people?

Connecting a laptop to your projector screen and actually going through the motions of making a contribution will increase your digital giving instantly. If you have an app, ask people to pull out their phones and download that app right their on the spot, then walk through how to setup their account with them.

But don't stop there. Create a how-to page on your website. Put information in your weekly bulletin. Tweet it. Post on Facebook. Email your congregation. Setup in person group-meetings for those looking to learn more. Have your small group leaders continue to help their groups.

Hopefully you are getting the idea.

Connecting a laptop to your projector screen and actually going through the motions of making a contribution will increase your digital giving instantly. If you have an app, ask people to pull out their phones and download that app right their on the spot, then walk through how to setup their account with them.

But don’t stop there.

  • Record a demo of you going through the setup and giving process.
  • Create a how-to page on your website.
  • Put information in your weekly bulletin.
  • Tweet it. Post on Facebook. Share it on Instagram.
  • Email your congregation.
  • Setup in person group-meetings for those looking to learn more.
  • Have small group leaders continue to help their groups.
  • Shoot … you might even try doing live interactive video using Periscope or Meerkat.

You get the idea, right?

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Educating your congregation over a period of time until it becomes second nature, almost cultural, is the key. Enlisting buy in from the top down and the bottom up will ensure that you get the most out of your digital giving solution.

Step 4. Ensure it’s easy for everyone.

Technology for some people is down right scary.

Sure the younger generations are literally born (mom and dad were taking pictures with their iPhones at birth!) and raised digitally these days, but that’s not the case for most. It’s essential that you remember the group of people in your church that are apprehensive about giving their money using apps or websites. Or anything that isn't a checkbook for that matter.

They key is to ensure the digital giving solution that you introduce is simple to get started with, easy to use, and intuitive.

Digital phobia is not confined to just older people. It could be someone of any age. You have to design giving options to appeal across the age spectrum.

Step 5. Provide multiple giving options.

Here are a few of the digital giving options that you could roll out to your church.

  • Application (iOS, Android) giving
  • Web Site giving
  • SMS/Text to give giving
  • Kiosk giving
  • Recurring giving
  • "Round up" giving

That’s at least six ways for someone to give digitally.

The key here is that one size does not fit all. Some of your congregation will like to give on your website. Others will love text giving. Still others will want to setup recurring giving once because they're forgetful and don't have to bother with it again.

The idea is to give your members options.

When you employ a multi channel giving strategy you have a greater chance of member engagement and adoption which ultimately leads to a better chance of increasing your income. And increased funding allows you to do more in your community, serve more people, and fulfill your church’s vision and mission.

The numbers are in. Millions of people are using their phones and other digital means to pay for and use goods and services. If you haven't done so it’s time to jump in and work out what's right for your church to take advantage of the digital giving revolution.

Give your church members an easy to use mobile giving solution that’s ultra fast and wallet free. You'll benefit from:

Increased giving consistency by making it simple for you members to give in the moment or via scheduled recurring gifts.

Improved giving response rates by putting the power to give in the palm of your member’s hands. No more remembering the checkbook or wallet.

Reduced cost and admin time spent on data entry, gift management and administration.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.

Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.

Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.

Church Donation Letter Samples

Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.

With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.  

To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.

Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving.  So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.

Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.

Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.  

Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.

Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.

Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.

What’s next?

Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.

How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.

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The Super Simple [and actionable] 5 Step Guide to Rolling out your Church Mobile Giving Solution